Michael Days

Editor, Philadelphia Daily News

Philadelphia, Pa.

[PA-E 0201]

I can almost go back to the beginning of my career when I was an intern at The Minneapolis Tribune, and, you know, as an intern you got sent out to do, you know, a cute little story sometimes. Well, this story turned out to be about a family of six who was living in a car in Minneapolis in the wintertime.

And I spent time with them –and talked to all the kids, talked the mom, talked to the father. You know, you talk about ethics – I probably broke some rule there because I couldn’t – I just wasn’t comfortable taking their time, writing this story without giving them something. I had a $20 bill in my pocket, and I gave it to them. You know at Missouri (School of Journalism) we were probably told not to do that, but sometimes you have to be a human being too.

But I wrote about that story, and all the people just came out of the woodwork and helped them get housing and food and set them up.

And I guess, intellectually, I understood about the power of the pen before that point, but for me, personally, that was an important moment – that was a moving moment. Because they tried to get help, they’d been to agencies and nobody could quite make it work for them. By writing – putting that story in the paper, people came out – people helped them and got them settled in.

So, for me, that was what was an important moment – and there have been many others over the years – but that was an important moment for me.